It was debut delight for Kirsty Smith.
The Scotland defender helped West Ham United Women beat Everton 1-0 at Chigwell Construction Stadium on Sunday afternoon as they made the best possible start to the new Barclays Women’s Super League season.
It was Smith’s compatriot, Lisa Evans who was able to head the ball home just before the break, the only goal in a tightly contested match in east London.
The 28-year-old was delighted that West Ham were able to come away with all three points and spoke of how the team got the gameplan right.
“We’re delighted to come away with the victory,” Smith told whufc.com. “The main aim for today was to obviously make a winning start to the new season and I’m really pleased that we’ve been able to do that.
“We pressed them high, we got the gameplan right and we pride ourselves on a clean sheet and we were able to get one today, so it’s been a really good afternoon.
“It’s a defender's dream when you come away with a clean sheet, and the whole team worked really hard to make sure that we held on at the end to get the win.”
The goal will not go down as the prettiest that West Ham will score this season. A corner was not dealt with properly by Everton, which allowed Jess Ziu to head the ball back into a dangerous area, from where a pouncing Evans was able to head home and give the Irons the lead.
Smith revealed that the team had been working on making the most of set pieces and balls into the area in the build-up to the match against the Toffees.
She explained: “We worked on getting balls into the box earlier in the week, whether that be from open play or from set pieces, so it was good to see it pay off. It might not have been the nicest goal to ever go in, but it found its way into the net and that’s all that matters.
“It’s been tough for us because we didn’t have the pre-season that we wanted in terms of results, but at the same time we were able to learn from that and make sure we put those mistakes right before the season got underway.
“For us, this is what we need to build on. It’s a good start and we need to make sure we use this momentum in the matches that are coming up.”
Everton certainly made the home side earn the clean sheet, with the final ten minutes seeing the backline under constant bombardment.
But Smith and her teammates stood firm, and Smith heaped praise on the West Ham United faithful for helping get the three points over the line.
“We could hear the fans loud and proud and it’s always great to have the fans here and right behind us.
“We want to make this place a fortress, we want it to be a tough place for teams to come and try and get points. Today I think we proved that – and the fans really helped us over the line.”
And the defender is relishing the opportunity to play against her team, and hopes that the momentum from the opening day win will push them on against the Red Devils.
“I’m looking forward to facing off against my old Club, she confirmed. “I think it’s going to be a really good test for us, and we go into that game now with the confidence of this result behind us.
“Hopefully we can build on today and put in another good performance.”
The Women's team are back in action this weekend, when they welcome Manchester United to the Chigwell Construction Stadium in the Barclays WSL. Tickets are on sale now priced from just £13 for Adults and £5 for Juniors!